Sports Direct founder and chief executive Mike Ashley has mounted a thinly-veiled attack at the retailer’s shareholders for failing to support his chairman, Keith Hellawell.
It comes after a group of independent shareholders voted against the re-election of Hellawell as chairman. Ashley used his power as majority shareholder – he has a 55% stake – to save Hellawell.
Last week, hedge fund manager Crispin Odey, whose fund owns about 5% of Sports Direct, spoke out in support of Ashley and the retailer in an interview with The Times.
In a statement to the stock market yesterday, Ashley said: “I am grateful for Crispin’s recent comments about Sports Direct and I’m glad that we will no doubt continue to have an interesting ride together. I consider his backing to be highly significant at a time when others have been less forthcoming.
“I’m particularly pleased that we are in agreement over the fact that Keith Hellawell is the right man to help deliver further progress. We now intend to concentrate on our medium and long-term goals in order to deliver shareholder value through becoming the ‘Selfridges of sport’.”